BANGALORE: The first day of the 14th the legislative assembly and a new government witnessed bonhomie and camaraderie between members cutting across party lines in the House on Wednesday.
Roles were reversed as BJP sat in the opposition benches and Congress in the ruling. The JD(S) sat where it was last in last assembly. Former minister and Chikmagalur MLA C T Ravi, who was the first to arrive in lighter vein was asking all the BJP members not to forget to go to opposition lounge as the party was defeated in the recently held polls.
Pro-tem Speaker Malikayya Guttedar administrated oath to 146 newly elected the members in the 224-member assembly strength. The rest will take oath on Thursday. The House has 56 first-time MLAs.
The Congress strength in the House is 121 members with the BJP and JD(S) sharing second spot having 40 MLAs each. By virtue of registering higher vote-share in the May 5 assembly polls, the JD(S) has been recognized as the principal opposition party.
Wearing the traditional saffron-coloured “pagadi”, a Maharashtrian headgear, two members — Arvind Chandrakant Patil (Khanapur) and Sambhaji Laxman Patil (Belgaum Dakshin), belonging to Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) took oath in Marathi. P Rajesh, 35-year old MLA from Kudachi, elected on BSR (Congress) ticket was sporting green headgear symbolizing farmers’ struggle.
Y Ramakka, mother of former MLA Y Sampangi, elected from KGF on BJP ticket was the first to occupy the seat in the House. Another BJP MLA Shashikala Jolle, a first-timer was seen in silk saree wearing branded sports shoe.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah was first to take oath. He took oath in the name of “truth”. He was followed by his ministerial colleagues. Former CM Jagadish Shettar (BJP) and B S Yeddyurappa (Karnataka Janata Paksha) were among those who were sworn in.
Even as members-ministers Aravind Bellad, Ramakrishna Doddamani, Qamar Ul Islam and H Anjaneya took oath in the names of God, congress member Basavaraj Rayareddi objected saying it was against the Constitution. He later submitted letter to the speaker urging him ask these members to take oath again as prescribed in the constitution. Industrialist-producer Ashok Kheny, promoter of Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) and Islam took oath in English.
Cine star and housing minister M H Ambareesh could not forget the occasion as he entered the assembly and took oath on his 61st birthday. Later several MLAs were seen petitioning Ambareesh for housing project for the poor in their assembly segments.
Later in the lounge, Ambareesh jocularly said he had turned a senior citizen now and was eligible for social security schemes of the government. JD(S) state unit president H D Kumaraswamy and former deputy chief minister R Ashoka were absent on the first day.
Six term Congress MLA D K Shiva Kumar absence was conspicuous. According to party sources he is not likely to take oath in this session. A member cannot participate in the House proceedings without taking oath. There have been precedents in the Rajya Sabha, when legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar who was nominated to the House in 1999 took oath in February 2000 as she had abroad, but prior permission of the presiding officer should be obtained to abstain from the session.
The session will go till June 7. Senior Congress member Kagodu Thimmappa is slated to be elected as speaker on Friday. Governor H R Bhardwaj is slated to deliver his address to the joint session on June 3.